Black English

Topics: English language, Black people, White people Pages: 2 (733 words) Published: February 11, 2006
"Black English" Another Way to Classify Humans

"To open your mouth … You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem, and alas, your future ". After reading the two essays, "From Outside, In" by Barbara Mellix and "If Black English Isn't a Language Then Tell Me, What Is?" by James Balwin, I came to realize a few things one of them being that the way we speak, is a means of identifying somebody's culture and background. Much in how a license can tell a person your name, age, were you live etc. a person can tell your race, what kind of education you have and were you are going in life just by hearing you talk.

When slavery began, a time in human history that I assume many people would rather forget, the U.S. would remove black people from their homes in Africa and bring them here to America. The slave masters would then teach these slaves just enough English so they could do the work they were told. The blacks, knowing only a few words in English, filled the holes in there vocabulary with word of their own. This language came to be what we now know as "black English". This form of English was looked down upon as Mellix explains in her essay. As Mellix states in her essay "black English" was reserved only for the closest family members and friends, "…transplanted relatives and one-time friends who came from the city for the weddings, funerals, and vacations. And the whites. To these we spoke standard English2". As Mellix elaborates in her essay she tells of how she would "put on airs2", as in use "standard English". Even when white people didn't speak correct "standard English" she would, "It did not matter that Toby had not spoken grammatically correct English. He was white and he could speak as he wished. I had something to prove. Toby did not ". I find it extremely sad that even her own mother would correct her English, ""Aint" my mother would yell at me when I used the term in the presence of "others." "You know...
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